Gen-Eds: They Can Be Fun Too!

One of the most frustrating processes for any college freshman is beginning to fulfill their general education requirements. If you’re lucky, you will get it done in only two semesters like me (with the help of previous dual credit experience), or you may be in for the long haul. Either way, there are several classes you can take to complete these requirements depending on how your university does the general education system. The fact of the matter is that these classes should not be a biology course in a stuffy classroom or the same old speech class you dreaded from high school.

My point is, gen-eds can be just as fun as any elective. You just have to know where to look, and luckily for you, I have a few suggestions on how to spice up your first semester of college.

Instead of Public Speaking, Why Not Try…

A theatre class: preferably anything similar to “The Fundamentals of Acting.” Public speaking is an excellent and almost mandatory skill to possess, but this does mean you have to take a communications course. With most universities, their acting program has classes that are offered to the general student body, such was the case before I declared my theatre minor. Acting classes involve a lot of icebreaker games that help you relax and get to know your classmates on a more personal level. While they do not involve heavy scene work, you will work a lot on your presence and speaking. You will have so much fun that you won’t even realize you’re doing a form of public speaking!

Instead of Chemistry or Biology, Why Not Try…

A hazardous weather or companion animals course. These are options fairly unique to the University of Illinois, but I feel like you could find suitable counterparts at other schools as well. While some of you may be in majors relating to chemistry or biology, there is always parts of the scientific community that you may not know about! You can never know too much about the weather, and it can help you in your day-to-day life. Trust me, it’s really awesome being able to understand the weather. On the other hand, universities are beginning to offer courses that educate you in the science of companion animals, such as dogs, cats, horses and the like. Nothing makes science quite as fun as a fluffy kitten.

Instead of History, Why Not Try…

A media class: preferably something along the lines of “Intro to Popular TV & Movies.” Most history courses these days complete a requirement known as “western/comparative culture.” Although history is always a great subject to take, you probably got enough of it in high school (unless that is you are a history major, which in that case, congratulations!). Media studies courses give students insight to better understanding everyday culture and trends. This can be especially handy to people majoring in marketing or advertising. Overall, you will have a lot more fun learning when your curriculum consists primarily of watching quality television and reporting your findings to the professor.

One Final Disclaimer When It Comes To Gen-Eds

As much as people on the Internet will try to convince you of this, there are no blow-off general education classes. The second you discredit a course in such a way, you are doomed to not take anything valuable away from it. These suggestions are simply meant to give you an alternative way to complete your requirements instead of the old-fashioned way. So happy registering and always try to expand your education to broader and more interesting horizons. There is always more than one way to do things!

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Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Theatre. On campus, Tori can often be found working on various projects for Her Campus Illinois, acting in a production or reading. While at home, she enjoys working at her family’s restaurant or exploring with her friends.